How’d They Do That?

How'd They Do That?I’m big on stories and storytelling – both personally and in business. In addition to this quick reminder about the importance and value of stories, I’m currently reading, “The Robert Collier Letter Book“. In chapter 4, referring to the value of word pictures (which is really just a story), Collier says,
“Your sale must be read in the readers mind. Before you can get his order, it is necessary to register a sequence of impressions in his mind, the combined result of which will be to make him want the thing you are offering more than the trouble or money it cost him.” p. 31
What is the story you want to tell? As an aside, are you telling it clearly?
Seth Godin’s recent blog post called, Broken English highlighting the importance of clarity.

All the nuance disappears. When talking to someone in a languge that’s not easy for them, you discover that idioms and other forms of communication disappear. You need to be extremely direct and specific in order to make yourself understood.

The thing is, just about everyone speaks some form of broken English. It’s “broken” because it doesn’t match our version. Their language and our language isn’t the same one—the other person may think your English is broken too.

Our ability to communicate with one another isn’t nearly as sophisticated or error free as we think it is.

You will be misunderstood. If it’s critical that we understand you, say it more clearly. Say it twice. Better yet, act it out, live it, make it an action, not merely a concept.

Godin’s point is an important one in business, however, I think it has greater implications in marriage, parenting, faith and friendships.


What makes marketing compelling? Stories. The story a brand tells may be implicit: “Coke Adds Life.” The customer fills in what that means to them. Or a brand’s story may be explicit, like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. When brands use storytelling well it can capture customers’ attention, spark their imagination, and build the kind of engagement that leads to advocacy and sales.

But storytelling isn’t a phenomenon for B2C alone. B2B marketers can use storytelling to engage current customers and attract new ones. One of the most persuasive types of storytelling in B2B is customer case studies. Executives are hungry for insight on how to succeed in their job, solve problems, and harness opportunities. B2B brands can use storytelling to share insights with prospects into how customers successfully use their product or services to accomplish those outcomes.

It’s no wonder that content marketing continues to grow in popularity. Content marketing in part is about communicating a brand’s promise through storytelling. Customer success stories are an integral element of that approach. Whether it’s a two-sentence testimonial or a 2,000-word case study, the story of a customer success can motivate prospects to become customers and inspire customers to stay engaged.

Why all this harping on storytelling? An insightful campaign or customer success story can help make the case for marketing investments as surely as they move prospects and customers through their company’s funnel. Learning about and keeping up on strategies and trends is important, but they’re made concrete when exemplified by a related real-life experience—when the “What’s in it for me?” is clear. Storytelling can provide that clarity.

At Direct Marketing News, we’re always looking for compelling customer success stories to share with readers. And we know you have them. So, what’s your story?

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